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Harriet Beecher Stowe was an author and social activist best known for her popular anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
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Stowe continued to write and to champion social and political causes for the rest of her life. She published stories, essays, textbooks and a long list of novels, including Oldtown Folks and Dred. While none of these matched Uncle Tom’s Cabin in terms of popularity, Stowe remained well known and respected in the North, particularly in reform-minded communities. She was often asked to weigh in on political issues of the day,
such as Mormon polygamy.
Despite the moral rectitude of the Beechers, the family was not immune to scandal. In 1872, charges of an adulterous affair between Henry Ward Beecher and a female parishioner brought national scandal. Stowe maintained that her brother was innocent throughout the subsequent trial.
While Stowe is closely associated with New England, she spent a considerable amount of time near Jacksonville, Florida. Among Stowe’s many causes was the promotion of Florida as a vacation destination and a place for social and economic investment. The Stowe family spent winters in Mandarin, Florida. One of Stowe’s books, Palmetto Leaves, takes place in northern Florida, describing both the land and the people of that region.
Stowe died on July 1, 1896, in Hartford, Connecticut. She was 85. Her body is buried at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, under the epitaph “Her Children Rise up and Call Her Blessed.”
Landmarks dedicated to the life, work and memory of Harriet Beecher Stowe exist across the eastern United States.
The Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Brunswick, Maine, is where Stowe lived when she wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin. In 2001, Bowdoin College purchased the house, together with a newer attached building, and was able to raise the substantial funds necessary to restore the house.
The Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Hartford, Connecticut, preserved the home where Stowe lived for the final decades of her life. The home is now a museum, featuring items owned by Stowe, as well as a research library. The home of Stowe’s next-door neighbor, Samuel Clemens (better known as Mark Twain), is also open to the public.
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